I stand with Farmers vs. Monsanto…


From FOOD DEMOCRACY NOW

On January 31, 2012, 55 farmers and plaintiffs traveled to Manhattan to hear oral arguments regarding Monsanto’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) vs. Monsanto.

At the heart of the lawsuit is the threat that family farmers face due to genetic trespass on their fields as a result of Monsanto’s genetically modified (GMO) seed and the aggressive enforcement of the biotech seed and chemical giant’s alleged patent rights.

In court, Federal Judge Naomi Buchwald declared that she would rule on the motion to dismiss the trial or move forward in the next 60 days or by March 31st. If you want to
support America’s family farmers, sign the letter to say, “I Stand with Farmers vs. Monsanto!”

Please take a moment to tell America’s farmers why you support them.

I support America’s farmers in their pursuit of justice and their right to grow food without fear and intimidation. It’s time for family farmers to have their day in court and put an end to this unjust harassment.

Sign here
~


Very funny romp through the lives of wanna-be, urbanite, country weekenders who think they’ve got what it takes to “go back to the land.”
~~

Lying Plutocrats, Killing Our Democracy, Pure and Simple…


From GEORGE MONBIOT
The Guardian

Now it’s a straight fight with the billionaires and corporations

Shocking, fascinating, entirely unsurprising: the leaked documents, if authentic, confirm what we suspected but could not prove. The Heartland Institute, which has helped lead the war against climate science in the United States, is funded among others by tobacco firms, fossil fuel companies and one of the billionaire Koch brothers.

It appears to have followed the script written by a consultant to the Republican party, Frank Luntz, in 2002. “Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.”

Luntz’s technique was pioneered by the tobacco companies and the creationists: teach the controversy. In other words, insist that the question of whether cigarettes cause lung cancer, natural selection drives evolution or burning fossil fuels causes climate change is still wide open, and that both sides of the “controversy” should be taught in schools and thrashed out in the media.

The leaked documents appear to show that, courtesy of its multi-millionaire donors, the institute has commissioned a global warming curriculum for schools, which teaches that “whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy” and “whether CO2 is a pollutant is controversial.”

The institute has claimed that it is “a genuinely independent source of research and commentary” and that “we do not take positions in order to appease or avoid losing support from individual donors”.

Rosalind Peterson: Mendocino County Billboard Pollution…


From ROSALIND PETERSON
Agriculture Defense Coalition

It is time for Mendocino County to take stock of the ever-increasing number and size of ugly billboards that are destroying the wonderful views here in Mendocino County.

If tourism is to increase we need to have a decrease in the number and size of unsightly billboards rather than increasing numbers. Thus, the County billboard ordinance, rules, and regulations should be upgraded in order to attract tourism here and also to enhance the beauty of Mendocino County.

Action Items:

  1. All current billboards should be inspected to make sure that the size of the billboards in our county have not been increasing with additions in the last 10 years. Any billboards that have increased in width, height or length should be brought back into compliance by fines levied by the County Planning Department. It appears that extensions on the sides, tops, and width of older billboards have been changed without approval by the Mendocino County Planning Department. (Note the height extension on the billboard in this photograph on U.S. 101.)

Billboard - back side

2. All billboards that have ugly backsides should be removed or upgraded.

Gina Covina: Saving squash seeds…


From GINA COVINA
Laughing Frog Farm
Laytonville

We’ve spent the last week in the heady thrill of garden planning. The process used to be an orgy of seed catalog porn, but now we’re in transition to sustainability, so the first step was identifying the crops we want to grow for seed this year. That list included way more than we can grow ourselves, so we brought our favorite candidates to the Laytonville Seed Swap on Sunday and found growers for them from the ranks of the newly evolving Mendocino Seed Growers Co-op. The near future is looking good for local seed.

Here’s one example. Squash divide themselves into three main species (and a couple more minor ones) and within those species they cross-pollinate like crazy. Between species, no. Cucurbita pepo includes most summer squash, as well as acorn, delicata, and many pumpkins. Cucurbita maxima includes a long list of buttercups, Hubbards, turbans, bananas, and more pumpkins. The third, C. moschata, has the butternuts, cheese, trombetta – and yes, more pumpkins. A gardener without near neighbors can grow one variety from each species and confidently save the seeds without having to resort to hand pollination. Our only C. pepo this year will be Dark Star zucchini, the result of Bill Richards’ many years of breeding work on the Eel River flood plain. Delicious, prolific as the hybrid zucchinis, deep-rooted (Richards grows without irrigation), and cold-tolerant beyond the limits of other zukes.

But we also have

Transition: When they cut Social Security by 40%…


From JOHN ROBB
Resilient Communities

As most of us already know, the Greek government is bankrupt.

So far, it has been forced to cut expenses by 34%.

That means they have already made deep cuts in pension payments, government employee incomes, and government employee headcount.  And they are just getting started.

The Greek economy is in free-fall and likely to set the record for the most severe depression in a modern country so far this Century.

Our collective problem is that the Greek experience will soon seem commonplaces. Almost all of the nations in the West are headed towards a Greek style bankruptcy given current trends. The US deficit alone is running at over a trillion a year with NO end in sight. So, eventual bankruptcy of the US and most of the EU isn’t a question of what is right or just or what could happen in a perfect world.  It’s what is likely to happen.

Given this, the question you should be asking yourself is:  What would happen if the US and the EU cut their budgets as deeply as Greece?  What if there was an across the board budget cut of 40%?

This is an important question since it is almost certain to happen and it will be ugly.  Why?  The number of people that…

  1. currently work for the government,
  2. get a government pension (or military pension),
  3. or get social security/medicare/income support payments

is very large.

So, for planning purposes

Occupy The Neighborhood: How Counties Can Use Land Banks and Eminent Domain


From ELLEN BROWN
The Web of Debt

An electronic database called MERS has created defects in the chain of title to over half the homes in America. Counties have been cheated out of millions of dollars in recording fees, and their title records are in hopeless disarray. Meanwhile, foreclosed and abandoned homes are blighting neighborhoods. Straightening out the records and restoring the homes to occupancy is clearly in the public interest, and the burden is on local government to do it. But how? New legal developments are presenting some innovative alternatives.

John O’Brien is Register of Deeds for Southern Essex County, Massachusetts. He calls his land registry a “crime scene.” A formal forensic audit of the properties for which he is responsible found that:

• Only 16% of the mortgage assignments were valid.
• 27% of the invalid assignments were fraudulent, 35% were “robo-signed,” and 10% violated the Massachusetts Mortgage Fraud Statute.
• The identity of financial institutions that are current owners of the mortgages could be determined for only 287 out of 473 (60%).
• There were 683 missing assignments for the 287 traced mortgages, representing approximately $180,000 in lost recording fees per 1,000 mortgages whose current ownership could be traced.

At the root of the problem is that title has been recorded in the name of a private entity called Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems (MERS). MERS is a mere place holder for the true owners, a faceless, changing pool of investors owning indeterminate portions of sliced and diced, securitized properties.

Todd Walton: Shooting Hoops


From TODD WALTON
UnderTheTableBooks.com
Mendocino

She wanted to be buried in a coffin filled with used paperbacks.” Sherman Alexie

I suppose it’s a good thing we don’t have a basketball court at our house or I might never go anywhere, but if someday housing prices around here fall from insane to merely absurd and we manage to buy our own place, and assuming the house is not on a cliff, I’ll put up a backboard and hoop. In my younger days I had a big sign on the refrigerator that said When In Doubt, Shoot Hoops, and doing so saved my sanity a thousand times. Shooting hoops should not be confused with playing basketball, because one can shoot hoops alone and have an experience more akin to walking meditation than that of a full-blown game of basketball.

We recently watched Smoke Signals, a movie based on the short stories of Sherman Alexie, with a screenplay by Alexie, and we loved it. I hadn’t seen the film since it came out in 1998, and I had forgotten how important basketball is to the story, not in terms of plot, but as a metaphor for the game of life. Smoke Signals is definitely not a basketball movie, nor is it really an American Indian movie, though the film is peopled almost entirely with Indians and set on the Coeur d’Alene reservation. But below the skin, this is a tender and universal story about parents and children and sorrow, and how the unresolved past may impinge on the present and trap us in anger and confusion. Smoke Signals might have been set in Poland or Iraq or San Francisco rather than on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation, but that’s where Sherman Alexie came from, so that’s where the movie takes place, with a brief cameo by the inimitable John Trudell as the reservation radio DJ intoning, “It’s a good day to be indigenous.”

Transition: As our civilization declines, it will increasingly be up to households and communities to provide the basics for ourselves…


From RICHARD HEINBERG
Post Carbon Institute

It is this contest between traditional power elites on one hand, and growing masses of disenfranchised poor and formerly middle-class people attempting to provide the necessities of life for themselves in the context of a shrinking economy, that is shaping up to be the fight of the century.

[Mendo Free Skool offers an alternative to traditional education. With classes like Bicycle Repair, Practical Permaculture, Demystifying Anarchism, and D.I.Y. Movie Making, it's a refreshing variety of completely free classes for people of all ages. Run entirely by volunteers, Mendo Free Skool gives the community an opportunity to share their skills and knowledge. Anyone can teach for the Free Skool, so the quarters take on the flavor of whatever people are interested in at the time. “Classes” take place in homes, cafes, and community centers. A quarterly calendar is available online and in print accompanied by the location and description of each course. Spring Quarter runs March 20th - June 20th. Questions, comments and class submissions can be sent to: MendoFreeSkool@gmail.com -Will Parrish]

1. Prologue

As economies contract, a global popular uprising confronts power elites over access to the essentials of human existence. What are the underlying dynamics of the conflict, and how is it likely to play out?

As the world economy crashes against debt and resource limits, more and more countries are responding by attempting to salvage what are actually their most expendable features—corrupt, insolvent banks and bloated militaries

Coming to our towns? Austerity policy is destroying Greek Society…


From DIMITRI LASCARIS
Real News Network

Heart wrenching personal stories show that Greece should reject austerity deal and pull out of Eurozone

The following is a letter from Dimitri’s sister in Greece:

“Friends of ours have died of heart attacks, stressed to the limit by debt, or worse, the loss of their cars and homes”

Dimitri…the decline in our income and therefore in many facets of our lives began in the fall of 2009. In our family carpentry business, we began to go without work intermittently, but for longer and longer stretches as time progressed. Customers who owed us large amounts of money couldn’t pay even 5% of the balance owing on their account. Our customers of course gave priority to the payment of bank loans they had incurred as first-time homeowners or for the expansion of their businesses, or worse, they gave priority to the payment of credit card debts they had incurred in order to maintain the quality of their life, or simply to secure the basic necessities… rent, water, electricity, health insurance and food. Slowly, cash has became more and more scarce for our customers, and therefore for us.

In Greece, the baby boomer generation has placed tremendous emphasis on education. In a very competitive job market, Greek parents sought to equip their children to secure a job as a civil servant. For that purpose, Greek parents commonly employed ‘frontistiria’ (or supplementary education through tutoring)

A week in the life of the Occupy movement…


From The Occupied Wall Street Journal

This week in Occupy, Wisconsin marked a year of activism by marching on the state capitol, efforts are introduced to rein in NYPD abuses toward Occupy protesters, Sarah Palin got mic-checked and attention turned to #F29, the next big action.

#Protesters gathered on Capitol Square for a “Wisconsin Day” anniversary rally marking a year since Republican Governor Scott Walker’s introduction of a bill to eliminate collective bargaining for most public employees.

#On Monday, about 200 demonstrators from Occupy Oakland gathered for a day of action to protest the arrest of 400 people, including journalists, at the #J28 action, during which police employed tear gas and flash grenades. Predictably, police officers confiscated a loudspeaker from Occupy protesters, prompting a march.

#To avenge #J28, the hacktivist collective Anonymous posted the private information of Oakland city officials online, including phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, salary information (top city officials apparently pull down a quarter of a million a year) and property value information. Among those targeted were mayor Jean Quan, police chief Howard Jordan, Oakland city administrator Deanna Santana, city attorney Barbara Jean Parker and a number of city council members. “We are shocked and disgusted by your behavior,” Anonymous wrote. “Before you commit atrocities against innocent people again, think twice.”

New Rules for Radicals: 10 Ways To Spark Change in a Occupied World


From SARA ROBINSON
AlterNet
Poster discovered thanks to Christina Aanestad

The first rule is this: The world is different now. The rules have changed.

Since Occupy, we all understand this. Nothing works now the way it did even just a couple of years ago. Political tactics that haven’t budged public opinion in years — like petitions and big street demonstrations — are suddenly working again. Narratives that seemed unassailable — like the primacy of free markets and low taxes — are being openly questioned. Doors that used to be closed to us are now opening. The media that once ignored us is now starting to listen. The conservatives are shaken and fumbling, stuck on autopilot and unable to re-route away from their old course even as disaster looms dead ahead. What’s going on here?

What’s going on is that we are (finally!) in the first giddy months of a deep-current sea change in American politics, the kind of realignment that happens once every several decades. This change has put us into a whole new political era, one that runs by an entirely new set of rules — and one in which a great many impossible things may, all of a sudden, become possible.

The reasons for this shift are complex and wonky, and are the stuff of other articles. But we all sense it, and we all want to know what it means.

As a Silicon Valley brat-turned-futurist, I’ve spent a lot of my life in a culture that churned constantly with this kind of upending, unending change.

Young farmers and the future of farming…



Paula Manalo, Adam Gaska – Mendocino Organics CSA

From VICKI LIPSKI
Transition Voice

It’s all in a day’s work for family farmers of the 21st century:  Colony Collapse Disorder, dealing with Monsanto’s threats, global warming disasters, the government crackdown on family farms, genetically-engineered crops.

Where once American plowmen had merely to contend with unpredictable weather, infertile soil, inaccessible water supplies, poverty, accidents and disease, today’s food producers face a further cornucopia of sophisticated and bewildering attacks from all sides. That fewer than one percent of Americans want to wrestle a crop from abused soil, while attempting to anticipate how global warming or ailing honeybees may thwart them, should surprise no one.

Nonetheless, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is calling for hundreds of thousands of new farmers nationwide.

Assuming a new crop (sorry) of fresh-faced novices can surmount the double whammy of little affordable land and even less capital, what else awaits them, in as uncertain a future as humankind has ever confronted? We’ll consider the “easy” problems first. The 800 pound gorilla – climate change – will just have to wait.

Cole Porter was right: Bees do it – or used to

Back in the early 1990’s, I began subscribing to a beekeeper’s magazine (the title of which I’ve long since forgotten), thinking it could serve as an introduction to my latest enthusiasm. That was a smart move on my part, because the editors

Paula Manalo: Seeds galore…


From PAULA MANALO
Mendocino Organics CSA

“You want to try a new eggplant variety? Look at this one – it’s marbled”

“We’re not growing that one variety of cucumber that was s**t last year. F**k that.”

“This greenhouse tomato is resistant to all these diseases. And this other variety comes in organic.”

“Oh, good, we still have a lot of that seed from last year so we don’t have to buy any.”

“Well, if we grow two rows of cucumbers and two rows of tomatoes in the greenhouse, let’s do basil in the fifth row.”

That’s what the office conversation is full of when we’re preparing our annual giant seed order. With seed catalogs, lists, calculators, pens, and papers around us, sitting on the floor, we get to envision our fields and future harvests. It’s rather exciting. Some farmers and gardeners compare seed catalogs to porn. Leafing through the pages of colorful produce, herbs and flowers, you can’t help salivate over the contentment of a bountiful harvest in the growing season to come. Agronomic info and variety descriptions only enhance the flavor of this vision.

Our hand-drawn maps may be out of proportion on pieces of scrap paper, but with accurate calculations, feedback from CSA members, and mostly experience, we’re able to figure out what seed we need to buy. We’re a bit anxious because cash flow is almost stagnant this time of year, and we know that popular varieties, particularly organic ones, sometimes sell out quickly. We have to act fast and just get the order in. A late catalog in the mail or “seed crop failure” of a favorite variety can be a source of consternation.

After about a month of pouring over our maps, thinking about how we want to rotate our crops, looking at

A country for old men…


From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer

Unless you suffer from an overactive bladder as many of us do, you may find this essay a bit on the crude side. But nevermind, you will get there too eventually unless you are lucky. In terms of overactive bladders, there is an advantage to living on a farm that rarely gets mentioned, even though the “fall out” from it is quite significant for society at large. Farms provide owners with a private place far from any bathroom where they can relieve themselves.

You know all the old jokes, even if they aren’t all that funny. How old men develop the habit of checking every building they enter for the location of the bathroom before they do anything else. How the farmer with the round barn had an “accident” as he frantically looked for a secluded corner to pee in.

Until I joined the legion of men with enlarged prostates, I did not appreciate the full meaning of tranquility on the farm. In public, I must keep a furtive eye on the nearest bathroom and make sure I do not move more than a minute or two away from it. If I have to give a speech, I am usually safe beforehand because I am too scared for any bodily function to work no matter what. After the speech, however, if I avoid eye contact and abruptly breeze by you as if I am trying to steal second base, please understand. Even in my office at home, absorbed in writing, I have to make mad dashes for the bathroom. This is another unsung advantage of cell phones. You don’t have to hang up in this situation.

But in the field or garden hoeing, or among the trees sawing and chopping, or in the barn trying to convince my sheep that Lucretius said it all over 2000 years ago, no problem.  Believe me, knowing this adds another dimension to the calming effect that a rural environment can bestow.

But using your farm for a bathroom has social significance too. What if, as in my perfect world, some 50 million Americans (out of 300 million) lived and worked part of the time on their own little farms. Let us say they committed half their bodily waste directly to the soil or to the animal manure bedding in the barn

Cooperatives are the biggest secret in the world economy…


From DAVID BOLLIER
On The Commons

Cooperatives employ more people than multinational companies

There’s more than Olympics and Elections going on in the coming months. 2012 has been named International Year of Cooperatives by the United Nations [6] in recognition of the fact that more than 800 million people around the world belong to one of these economic networks. Coops flourish in all sectors of the economy proving that economic efficiency and equitability can co-exist. They represent a commons-based alternative to both the private market and state controlled enterprises.

Four in ten Canadians are coop members (70 percent in the province of Quebec). In the U.S. 25 percent of the population belongs to at least one coop ranging from credit unions to food coops to major firms like REI and Land O’ Lakes dairy, according to the International Co-Operative Alliance [7] In Belgium, coops account for 20 percent of pharmacies: in Brazil, 37 percent of all agricultural production is from coops; in Singapore, coops account for 55 percent of supermarket purchases: in Bolivia, one credit union handles 25 percent of all savings; in Korea and Japan, 90 percent of farmers belong to coops; in Kenya, coops account for 45 percent of the GDP; in Finland, 34 percent of forestry products, 74 percent of meat and 96 percent of dairy products come from coops.

Around the world, coops provide 100 million jobs, 20 percent more than multinational companies. But what’s most remarkable is how little attention they receive in business coverage or anywhere else.

“We may be moving toward a hybrid system, something different from both traditional capitalism and socialism, without anyone even noticing.”— Gar Alperovitz

While a great many commons seek to develop alternatives to conventional businesses – and even to bypass markets altogether – the struggle to democratize capital should not be lost in the shuffle. Popular ownership of capital

The Commons — Short, simple, and sweet…


From DAVID BOLLIER
On The Commons

The classic commons are small-scale and focused on natural resources

The commons must be understood, then, as a verb as much as a noun. A commons must be animated by bottom-up participation, personal responsibility, transparency and self-policing accountability.

I am always trying to figure out how to explain the idea of the commons to newcomers who find it hard to grasp. In preparation for a talk that I gave at the Caux Forum for Human Security, near Montreux, Switzerland, I came up with a fairly short overview, which I I think it gets to the nub of things.

The commons is….

*A social system for the long-term stewardship of resources that preserves shared values and community identity.

*A self-organized system by which communities manage resources (both depletable and and replenishable) with minimal or no reliance on the Market or State.

The wealth that we inherit or create together and must pass on, undiminished or enhanced, to our children. Our collective wealth includes the gifts of nature, civic infrastructure, cultural works and traditions, and knowledge.

*A sector of the economy (and life!) that generates value in ways that are often taken for granted – and often jeopardized by the Market-State.

There is no master inventory of commons because a commons arises whenever a given community decides it wishes to manage a resource in a collective manner, with special regard for equitable access, use and sustainability.

  • The commons is not a resource.* It is a resource plus a defined community and the protocols, values and norms devised by the community to manage its resources. Many resources urgently need to be managed as commons, such as the atmosphere, oceans, genetic knowledge and biodiversity.

Where is Kropotkin when we really need him?…


From DAVID MORRIS
On The Commons

Kropotkin honored Darwin’s insights about natural selection but believed the governing principle of natural selection was cooperation, not competition. The fittest were those who cooperated.

On February 8, 1921 twenty thousand people, braving temperatures so low that musical instruments froze, marched in a funeral procession in the town of Dimitrov, a suburb of Moscow. They came to pay their respects to a man, Petr Kropotkin, and his philosophy, anarchism.

Some 90 years later few know of Kropotkin. And the word anarchism has been so stripped of substance that it has come to be equated with chaos and nihilism. This is regrettable, for both the man and the philosophy that he did so much to develop have much to teach us in 2012.

I am astonished Hollywood has yet to discover Kropotkin. For his life is the stuff of great movies. Born to privilege he spent his life fighting poverty and injustice. A lifelong revolutionary, he was also a world-renowned geographer and zoologist. Indeed, the intersection of politics and science characterized much of his life.

His struggles against tyranny resulted in years in Russian and French jails. The first time he was imprisoned in Russia an outcry by many of the world’s best-known scholars led to his release. The second time he engineered a spectacular escape and fled the country. At the end of his life, back in his native Russia, he enthusiastically supported the overthrow of the Tsar but equally strongly condemned Lenin’s increasingly authoritarian and violent methods.

In the 1920s Roger N. Baldwin summed up Kropotkin this way.

Kropotkin is referred to

OWS: We must reassert our rights to occupy public spaces…


Tahrir Square in Cairo, where a revolution coalesced

From THOMAS HINTZE and LAURA GOTTESDIENER
The Occupied Wall Street Journal

After the raid on Liberty Plaza, the absence that opened up in the center of our movement was greater than the size of the physical space in that tiny, granite park. For us, space is not a mere necessity—a place to lay our head, to eat our meals, to congregate and assemble—it is also a symbol and a direct action. Literally, vacant lots are voids that we fill with physical representations of our concerns, hopes, fears, and dreams. We invite others to join us and create an infrastructure that liberates minds. We must reassert our rights to occupy public spaces.

Privatization has created a dichotomy of those with and those without, those with being landowners—a fraction of the population. We must partner with communities, artists, educators, not just taking for ourselves, but opening locked gates for all to occupy.

Now that we are rebuilding, some say that it is in our best interest to occupy indoor spaces. Occupying indoor spaces, such as foreclosed houses and abandoned buildings, politicizes individual struggles. It answers the question of how to survive through the winter and how to create a life outside of the spectacle of this revolutionary project. It allows the message of our movement to enter communities through individual voices. But occupying indoor space is fundamentally about reclaiming private space, a shift from our notions of what it is to be public, transparent, inclusive and collective.

Outdoor spaces symbolically oppose Wall Street in a manner that directly threatens its stability, and maintaining our presence in opposition is crucial to enfranchising more supporters moving forward. Indoor spaces are an important compliment to whatever we do, but we must remember that outdoor public spaces embody the heart of this movement. With each space we consider, we must ask whether it gives form to our collective desires. This is our metric. We will not wait for channels of bureaucracy to gift spaces to us. We will liberate them.
~~

Move to Amend Speaker David Cobb in Ukiah Tonight Monday 2/13/12 at the Saturday Afternoon Club 7pm…



David Cobb is National Projects Director of Democracy Unlimited. He is a lawyer, political activist, and engaged citizen. He has dedicated his adult life to making the promise of a democratic republic a reality in the United States.

He has sued corporate polluters, lobbied elected officials,  run for political office himself, and has been arrested for non-violent civil disobedience. He truly believes we must use ALL the tools in the toolbox to effect the systemic social change we so desperately need.

His talk tonight: Creating Democracy and Challenging Corporate Rule
~

Proposed Amendment

Section 1 [Corporations are not people and can be regulated]

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.

Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

Section 2 [Money is not speech and can be regulated]

Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

Federal, State and local government shall require

The First Dominoes: Greece, Reality, and Cascading Default…


From CHARLES HUGH SMITH
oftwominds.com

I asked frequent contributor Zeus Yiamouyiannis to comment on the coming Greek default. Here is his insightful response.

Greece is the epicenter of a drama that threatens to unwind with all the intrigue and subterfuge of ancient Greek myths and tragedies. As with the legend of Icarus, big, and now bigger, transnational banks provoked the gods with their wax-and-feather financial fabrications to create the appearance of soaring wealth. Now that they have flown too close to the sun and their wings have melted, these banks are being brought to earth by the obligations and consequences imposed by their fabrications.

Rather than take responsibility, these banks seek to appease the gods by sacrificing taxpayers. In fact, if one looks closely, these banks aspire to be gods themselves. They clothe themselves in their indispensability and shield themselves from accountability with tales about how many innocent citizens will be hurt if they don’t get their next bailout. It is as if they say, “We are above the law… We are the law.” Mathematics, legal enforcement, restraint, humility all must fall under the sword of their hubris.

In the end, just as with a Greek tragedy or a Yeats poem, this center cannot hold and things fall apart. When one abuses the laws and principles of mathematics and capitalism, claiming to be a faithful servant, consequence and accountability eventually catch up. The breaking point inexorably nears. Citizens are beginning to think, voice, and act: “We can do without the false idols that call themselves banks. In fact, we need them to be dissolved for us to survive and thrive.”

Reality is the revenge of the gods.

Not just about fairness: Everything unwinds

This is not just about fairness anymore; it is about the exposure of central, global illusions that affect everyone, not just banks. For the last three plus decades, debt-fueled “growth” has instilled

Whole Foods Fraud: The Myth of So-Called Natural Foods…


From RONNIE CUMMINS
Organic Consumers Assn

[What's true for the so-called "natural foods" at Whole Foods is also true for our local "Natural Food Stores" and "Natural Food Co-ops" who should have labled GMO products on their shelves years ago and boosted the demand for organic foods. Demand Certified Organic foods and GMO labelling, and get the GMOs out of our treasured local stores... -DS]

On Jan. 31, organic and natural foods giant Whole Foods Market (WFM) once again attacked the Organic Consumers Association, the nation’s leading watchdog on organic standards, as being too “hard-line” for insisting that retailers like WFM stop selling, or at least start labeling, billions of dollars worth of so-called “natural” foods in their stores – foods that are laced with unlabeled, hazardous genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.

WFM’s most recent attack on OCA predictably backfired, throwing gasoline on the fiery debate surrounding my previous essay “The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto.” In that essay, written in January 2011, I criticized WFM and several other well-known organic companies for their foolish (now hopefully repudiated) stance of espousing “co-existence” with the USDA and Monsanto, in exchange for minimal federal regulation of genetically engineered crops.

In subsequent articles OCA has called for an end to “organic infighting” and for the organic industry, farmers, and consumers to join forces and pass laws or state ballot initiatives (like the current campaign in California) that would require mandatory labels on products containing genetically engineered ingredients, as well as to make it illegal to label or market GE-tainted foods as “natural” or “all natural.”

Anger is now running so high against Monsanto and the USDA, as well as anyone appearing to tolerate “co-existence” with either group, that rumors are fast spreading that Monsanto has bought out, or plans to buy out, WFM. That rumor is untrue. However, it has focused attention once again on the critical issue of food labeling. WFM, and all of us in the organic community

OWS: A New Declaration…


From DERRICK JENSEN
The Occupied Wall Street Journal

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That the real, physical world is the source of our own lives, and the lives of others. A weakened planet is less capable of supporting life, human or otherwise.

Thus the health of the real world is primary, more important than any social or economic system, because all social or economic systems are dependent upon a living planet.

It is self-evident that to value a social system that harms the planet’s capacity to support life over life itself is to be out of touch with physical reality.

That any way of life based on the use of nonrenewable resources is by definition not sustainable.

That any way of life based on the hyper-exploitation of renewable resources is by definition not sustainable: if, for example, fewer salmon return every year, eventually there will be none. This means that for a way of life to be sustainable, it must not harm native communities: native prairies, native forests, native fisheries, and so on.

That the real world is interdependent, such that harm done to rivers harms those humans and nonhumans whose lives depend on these rivers, harms forests and prairies and wetlands surrounding these rivers, harms the oceans into which these rivers flow. Harm done to mountains harms the rivers flowing through them. Harm done to oceans harms everyone directly or indirectly connected to them.

That you cannot argue with physics. If you burn carbon-based fuels, this carbon will go into the air, and have effects in the real world.

That creating and releasing poisons into the world will poison humans and nonhumans.

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